Saturday, May 30, 2015

For this project my inspiration was a dress by Claudia Strater.

A lovely summer dress in a nice print. Upon studying the details on their site I saw a horizontal seam in the waist. At least, that’s what I think, as it’s not very clear. That was at least also very helpful from a drafting point of view, I used the horizontal seam in both the front and back center pattern pieces.

My version is made from a knit fabric that has two tones of thread in it, in the salmon there is a bit of red as well. It’s not perfect and I would have liked the v neck a bit deeper. It’s more fitting than what I usually do in knits and I should be very aware of what I wear underneath. A cup seam is very clearly to be seen.
Apart from the that the main drafting issue is in the backarmhole. I made a quick muslin of the upper part and then again a quick muslin of the sleeve in this dress. I changed the sleeve a bit but it’s not good yet.
I guess the issue has to do with the armhole on the back pattern piece. I’ve posted the question on the Craftsy platform and am waiting for a reply.

Still I think it’s a nice summer dress, it will go with me to the south of France and Italy (soon!).

Monday, May 25, 2015

Summer top

What lovely comments on my new set from last post, I’ve tried to answer the questions in the comments there.

I’m having a blast with drafting patterns. This is what I tried this weekend, a cowl neck top. The basic draft is from the moulage class, the cowl neck from the dart manipulation class. I had some extra work in the waist/hip area and used my experience to deal with that issue.


Wearing it today and had sat at my desk for a while before the photos were taken, resulting in a few wearing wrinkles. What I like in this method is there is no extra fabric below the bust area, which was the case in a method I used before. The ease you see here is my wearing ease as I generally prefer not to have my garments too tight in the waist. Waist definition is fine, but not too much with my figure.



The cowl is a bit too low for everyday use and I think my shoulder seam should be a bit more to the front. Little alterations for next time.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A new set

Thank you for the comments on the moulage and drafting book posts. It’s nice to know some of you are interested in following along. I posted my moulage in the course too and the feedback from Suzy Furrer was to continue with this moulage for the sloper, only add a little less extra in the waist as there is a bit of space left in the moulage. I plan to make the sloper pattern this weekend.

There are a few ufo’s on my sewing table, two now only require attaching buttons or a snap, this set was a bit more work than that. Not too bad either, a bra only takes me about 3 hours, a set of panties an hour or so. Still… more work than sewing on buttons.

The lace was a gift from my friend Hilde, and it’s been a while since she gave it, must be 2 years. Initially I planned to combine it with either the yellow or the green that’s in the lace but never could find all the notions in matching colours. I decided to use off-white to go with it as that is the edge of the lace and is in the center of the yellow flower too. It’s a happy surprise to me how well this turned out, with hindsight I think the lace wouldn’t pop out so much with another colour.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Book (sort of) review

In a comment on yesterday’s post on the moulage Lyndle asked for information on the drafting book by Suzy Furrer. As it might interest more people I thought I’d answer it in a separate post.

I ordered the book from Apparel Arts directly. This is the school founded by Suzy Furrer where you can take all sorts of courses on drafting, draping etc. As for most of you, taking courses there is impossible for me.

On their site there is a link to their store where you can buy the book. Clicking on the book option immediately brought me a Paypal window to pay. To me that was a bit “direct”. It would be nicer to get some information first on the contents of the book, show shipping details perhaps instead of directly waving the invoice to you. It’s probably meant for their on-site students to buy the book easily and need it for their classes anyhow. On Amazon you can find a preview of the table of contents. But don’t buy it there! Right now it’s only offered at a price about 4 (four!) times the price you pay at Apparel arts directly.

The price of the book is $55, which is reasonable for this kind of book in my opinion. Shipping to Europe was another $24 and it was shipped the same day I ordered it and arrived within 10 days. The last is obviously depending on postal services and time to get through customs.

The reason I bought the book was to have the instructions in a written format too. The videos are wonderful and Suzy will give the little extra tips and tricks in the Craftsy courses, but once you know about a technique I don’t want to watch a whole video again doing it step by step, clicking through it just to find the thing you are looking for. And: in a book you can add (sticky) notes for things you want to try or remember. That’’s me, I love books (the real paper ones!). I know about Craftsy’s possibilties on making notes while you are watching. It’s not the same as taking your book, browsing, finding your notes, ideas.

Apart from the logistics of getting the book it’s of course interesting to know what the content is like. It has a good table of contents and a useless index. Most of the course material that is covered in the Craftsy courses is in it (as far as I can see, I don’t have the skirts and trousers class and not watched all courses to the end yet) and there’s a bit extra on some topics. Drafting a raglan sleeve, decorative sleeves, special shaped sleeve, drafting pockets, combining pricess seam and darts are a few examples.

The style of writing is very much as the Craftsy courses are: concise and to the point. To give you an idea of the way the instructions are written (clear as mud without the context and the line drawing, I don’t want to infringe on copyright):


This sort of instructions might look intimidating, but really are not that difficult and can be followed easily. If you want to have a go at pattern drafting (and I know that’s not everyones cup of tea) consider this book or the Craftsy class.

Monday, May 18, 2015


In a previous post I mentioned I did not have the moulage/sloper class by Suzy Furrer because I already had a sloper. Watching the other courses I got intrigued though and when a good sale was offered I did take the moulage class too to see what her take on it was in the strong conviction I would always learn something from it. Again I was not disappointed. I heartily recommend Suzy Furrer’s classes on Craftsy. In the past months I have bought 5 of her classes and her book as well. If you are new to pattern drafting you might consider starting with the skirt sloper (one of the classes I did not take) because all pattern drafting classes in general start with the skirt, as it’s easier and therefor a good place to start to become familiar with the concept.
One of the things I have never done before is making a moulage. That is a “precise fabric blueprint of the upper body”. Very close fitting with no ease. Based on the moulage you make the sloper. That is the basic draft with ease from which you then make your patterns for a blouse, dress, jacket or a coat. Suzy explains very well (in the sleeves class) how to adapt the basic sloper to a sloper for a jacket or a coat. I’m not there yet, it all takes time but I did make the moulage. The bust point is a little too high so I will change that in the draft.
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For comparison the photos of the moulage before my (small) alterations. I had too much space at the shoulder point and the waist was too wide. I also made the front armhole a very tiny bit wider at the bottom. In the photo above you can see the difference. The left armhole is changed, the right one unchanged.
Moulage 1
You might wonder whether this is easy to do. The answer is yes, it’s not that difficult but good measurments are crucial. Most measurements needed were the same as in the other pattern drafting system I learned but a few were different and I had my daughter take my measurements. One of them was off so my first draft ended up strange as the side seam length was too long. With new measurements it went much, much better but then I made a small mistake in converting an imperial measurement to centimeters. I was not a lot off, but enought to re-draw that particular area of the bodice.
It made me decide to make an Excel sheet with all the measurements needed with conversion to centimeters and with front and back measurements in two columns instead of one as on the Craftsy information. I’m convinced that will make it easier for me.
My head is spinning with ideas, my closet well stocked with fabrics after a lovely weekend with a meetup with sewing friends at the Utrecht fabric market and a visit to the textile museum so I hope to do quite a bit of sewing in the next weeks. About 4 projects to finish or alter first, I’ll start with that first to clear the table.
Can you tell I’m enjoying my sewing again?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

4 shoulder darts

A few weeks ago I showed you the muslin I made for a top with 4 shoulder pleats.


It was รค study on how it worked out. I liked it enough to make a top for myself. Changed a bit to the lenght of the darts as there was excess fabric on me and this is the result.


   4 shoulder pleat top detail

Only when seeing the photo of the side I realized that the back has too much fabric/is puffing. I’ll either have to have a bit more room in the waist or increase the back darts.

Side top

For those interested in dart manipulation or are taking the Craftsy class on it: I did not completely rotate the waist dart out. When I would do that, the angle of the waist to the hip would be very sharp. For the difference in waist/hip measurement I think it does not work well without waist darts, certainly when there is no waist seam. For that reason I also have more ease in the waist. Very fitted looks good on a dressform, but not on me ;)

Friday, May 8, 2015

A blue and a taupe dress

Here are pictures of the two dresses on me. I could do with a bit of a tan ;) and the blue dress especially was pictured after wearing it so has more wrinkles. Seeing the pictures I can of course see a few points for improvement, but in general I’m quite happy with the result. I wore the blue dress with a shawl this week and it was very comfortable.

The drafting is a combination from existing sloper combined with the square neckline technique from Suzy Furrer’s class. The taupe dress was made before I took any of her classes. Also the fabric of the taupe one is less stable, more a jersey knit whilst the blue one is a ponte knit. Which also accounts for the difference in drape

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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Two dresses

I’ve been in dress-mode in the past month: I made 3 dresses, of which I’m showing two here. The first one I made is a black one which is exactly the same as the taupe version. Black garments are awefully difficult to photograph, so I’m only showing the two others. I was inspired seeing a black dress/colored jacket combination at a work meeting and realized I was short on plain dresses. Read: none in the closet, except for one silk dress. I knew I was missing something….

I wore my black dress/jacket combination to a work appointment this week and when I entered the conference room the other two ladies present wore the same sort of combination: black basics with a colored jacket. Very different colors and styles so definitely not the same look, but it was such a coincidence. Or it’s the current work-dress trend which I obviously was not aware of.

The dresses were made based on the same sloper as my color-blocked dress from January. I started out making a pattern for a dress with princess seams. Very easy to make, even with the lining it does not take more than two evenings.

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The blue version below was inspired by this Marfy pattern. I did not want the flared skirt and also omitted the center front seam. I don’t know whether the Marfy pattern has a full side seam. It’s not important, I just used the inspiration and decided to continue the diagonal lines that come from the front seam to the back.


For the square neckline I followed the instructions of Suzy Furrer in her class on necklines. It was a new to me method to draft the back neckline to match the front and make sure it does not gape. It worked well for me.

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This was the quick muslin I did on the top of the dress with some remnant pieces of ponte knit. In the color blocking I see opportunities for a sports top (with a different neckline). Initially I had the back seam open and asked my daughter to pin it . Then I wondered whether I could go without a zipper. The neckline is wide enough and the fabric has stretch, as well as the lining. So I closed the center back seam and could easily put it on and get out of it again. So even easier to make: no zipper.



Perhaps I can show you some photos of me wearing the dresses tomorrow. Would be nice to make photos outside but the weather forecast says it will rain

Friday, May 1, 2015

Dart manipulation ideas

It must be in the air: shortly after my last posts on dart manipulation The Cutting Class blog wrote a post Bust shaping with panel lines by Dior. Lots of dart manipulation ideas!

Bust Shaping with Panel Lines at Dior | The Cutting Class. Christian Dior, SS15, Haute Couture, Paris.

Once you look for it you come across more ideas. Marfy patterns/catalogues are a source of inspiration too.

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It’s nice to think about how to draft these patterns. I will not do them all but my version of the yellow Marfy dress is almost ready in a denim blue. Will show you later this weekend.